Tired Feet on the Street: Day Two at IBM Pulse

Role management appears to be a very hot topic at Pulse. It was standing room only at our CTO Darran Rolls’ tech talk on “Role-Based Identity Governance.” Darran was also a panelist in a role management session led by Earl Perkins of Gartner this afternoon. The panel was one of the better discussion forums I’ve seen lately. Earl shook things up a bit by throwing out the canned questions and allowing the audience to ask questions that were top of mind from the buyer perspective.

One of the most interesting questions was posed by a gentleman from Alcatel-Lucent. He wanted to know whether there was an ROI associated with role management, or whether it was more the case that roles simply transferred the cost burden from IT to the business. This generated a very lively debate amongst the panelists. Some good points were raised, including the opinion that role management is not simply about cost efficiency but about improving the effectiveness of preventive and detective controls and providing greater transparency to identity data.

I think Darran was on the right track when he pointed out that roles are a vehicle for better understanding and improving how people and assets work to together. (Burton Group calls this “Return on Organization.”). As Darran pointed out, a role management solution should allow organizations to better understand how people and responsibilities are structured and to promote improvements in that structure, for the benefit of increased security and better all around identity controls. In difficult times, understanding the relationship between people, functional duties and the resources needed to carry out those duties is a critical business management process.

In addition to Darran’s sessions, we had lots of customer and partner demos in our booth, where we showcased our integration to Tivoli Identity Manager, Tivoli Access Manager, and Tivoli Compliance Manager (TIM, TAM, and TCIM). Quite a few IBMers stopped by to see firsthand how IdentityIQ integrates with the Tivoli identity suite. We had lots of great feedback on how well our role engineering and lifecycle management complements the TIM static and dynamic role model.

So the team had a busy second day at the event. The show has been great, and we have blisters on our feet to prove it!